Friday, December 19, 2008

The Science versus Art conundrum (Part 1)

Science and art are opposite in nature to each other. The nature of science is analytical, breaking down complex ideas into simpler ones, trying to hit the root of the issue. The nature of art is assimilative, combining a plethora of ideas and thoughts, to come up with something unified, complex and beautiful.

Even in life, our approach can be scientific - the scientific method credited to Socrates, or artistic - seeing things as a unified whole than as individual parts. To understand both the approaches better, let us take the example of water. Going back to the chemistry classes of school, we remember that water is made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. Thus, the scientific method breaks down water into its constituents to help us understand it better. On the other hand, the artistic method looks not into the components of water but its nature to understand it. The properties of water are completely different from those of its individual constituents. So, it looks at water as a whole and not in terms of its constituents.

So, how should any general problem in be approached? The scientific approach helps solve it better or the artistic approach? That is what I call the science versus art conundrum.
(To be continued...)